Phew! For such a short month, February this year was jam-packed with music! Miss A, Miryo, Brave Girls, Block B, SPEED, Jay Park, SE7EN, etc. Aaah! With this much pop going around, I needed something to calm me down, to ease my tension of being late, things I needed to do, or small crises. Thankfully, I found several ballads with stand-out features and a couple of upbeat ones that made me want to bob my head after a tired day.
D-Story – “Please” (Feat. Hyung Jung of M.A.C. and Jenny)
This song has everything going for it. Acoustic guitar lead-in? Check. Male-female duo? Check. Wrenching message and MV? Check and check. This mostly acoustic track goes straight for emotion, with a slow build, spare layers and light high notes from a piano. Hyung Jung’s steady vocal performance tells the story of heartache, and like a gentleman, let’s Jenny take the spotlight, which she gladly takes. Jenny’s high register contrasts wonderfully against Hyung Jung’s on “Please”, and they’ve been on repeat on my ipod since the first day I’ve heard this song.
Lim Ju Yeon – “Rainy Days and Mondays”
Originally sung by The Carpenters in 1971, Lim Ju Yeon covered it for her “Re:” covers series. For her take, a full jazz ballad take was done, with Ms. Lim’s trademark smooth vocals. The piano solo in the middle breaks up the 5 minute song, letting the song and the sad emotion breathe a little. Lim Ju Yeon’s English is great with only a few hiccups here and there, but her cover of the song is great. So good.
Brazilian Taco – “Hello, Brazilian Taco”
Get ready for some weirdness. Hip-hop/electronica duo Brazilian Taco released this song that’s jazz, hip-hop and electronica all at once. If this doesn’t spell out all of Korea’s musical obsessions right now, I can’t find a more fitting song. Brazil isn’t known for tacos, “Hello, Brazilian Taco” isn’t bossa nova, so I have no idea how any of these different elements work together. But this single is cool in a genuinely hipster sense. It is hip-hop for fans of it, and lounge electronica for those looking for it. “Hello, Brazilian Taco” takes cool and falls down the rabbit hole with it. There’s only a teaser, but it’ll give you enough to work on.
Cuba – “Curopa”
Rock ballads are my weakness, and indie rock band pulled it off with their latest single, “Curopa”. It’s a classic rock ballad, with incendiary guitar solos that tug on your heartstrings. The beat makes you tap your feet along and lead singer Song Jong Yin delivers like a true lead singer. He’s so good at it, in fact, that he starred in the Korean production of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”. Watch the following live version of “Curopa” and you tell me what role he had. ;)
Ju Bora – “Lost”
Oh gosh, Ju Bora, I’m right there with you, girl! “Lost” is pain reincarnate, ladies and germs, with a piano that crawls and a guitar that wails like a crying baby. Ju Bora’s husky voice and fantastic singing bring out each lyric and pain of breaking up like a dentist and a diseased tooth. And just like a dentist, you will leave crying. The distorted portion in the middle is genius, an audio symbol of being lost after the end of a relationship. The MV would’ve benefitted from actual crying and a kiss between Ju Bora and her boyfriend, but you’ll get the point.
Halla Man – “Don’t You Know”
Korean soul band Halla Man returned this month and released “Don’t You Know” just in time for Valentine’s Day. Bubbly and fun, you can’t help but smile at the energy of the song. Halla Man did the aegyo thing right, bringing just enough to charm the ladies, but not overdoing it for those not a fan of it. The MV takes the aegyo to romantic comedy levels, so beware, Neighbors with ice hearts! The end might make you look forward to spring ^_^
Sigh, what a relief. Thanks to the hard work over at koreanindie for all the points I couldn’t find otherwise. And with that, I’m gonna put my feet up, with a fleece blanket, a glass of red, and this playlist to welcome the night. See you next month!